The Dawn Meats Factory outside Slane in County Meath is to close at 6pm tomorrow, Saturday in an agreement made with farmers this morning. Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín, who witnessed the agreement, stated:

“This morning a deal was agreed in Meath between factory management and farmers. It consisted of the following: all of the trucks with cattle waiting to gain access into the factory would be turned around and sent home. All of the material within the process at the factory would be allowed to shipped out of the factory up until 6pm tomorrow and at that stage the gates of the factory would be locked. The factory will remain closed until the beef crisis is resolved.

“This is good news for the farmers. They have achieved a significant goal. There now needs to be urgent talks involving all the stake holders in the supply chain from farmers, to factories to supermarkets.

“The government also must get real. I spoke to a senior Fine Gael TD this week who said that the farmers’ objective of achieving more than €4 a kilo was unrealistic. This means that there are still some in government who believe that beef farmers should be providing beef at a below cost price to an industry that is making hundreds of millions of euro in profit. This is unsustainable and unjust. It will mean that farmers will be pushed into poverty, debt and off the land.

“I have been asked by the beef farmers in Slane to represent them at the any round table negotiations that are taking place next week. I will be happy to offer any assistance I can. But, the bottom line must be a fair distribution of the income of this industry. A price must be achieved that allow farmers to make a living and raise their families. I am acutely aware that factory workers will suffer due to this. It is critical that the government ensure that they are supported during this crisis.”